A GURKHA who was shot by an Afghan insurgent and avoided being blown up by a grenade before taking the attacker on in hand-to-hand combat is among the heroic members of the armed forces recognised in the latest round of military honours.
Some 117 people from all three services are included in the new Operational Honours list.
They include Acting Lance Corporal Tuljung Gurung, from The Royal Gurkha Rifles, who is awarded the Military Cross for his gallantry and courage when he took on an insurgent who mounted an attack on the patrol base where he was on guard.
ALCpl Gurung, then a Rifleman, was on duty when the Afghan, along with another insurgent, mounted the attack on the patrol base near Lashkar Gah in the early hours of the morning in March.
When they were challenged, they opened fire, and ALCpl Gurung was hit by a bullet on his helmet, knocking him to the ground.
Still dazed from the blast, he then saw a grenade bounce off the ceiling of the guard tower he was in and picked it up and threw it out just before it detonated, knocking the 28-year-old over again.
ALCpl Gurung, from Nepal, said: “I realised that if I ran away it would explode. I realised that I needed to do something, so I rolled it away.
“I fell down on the floor, there was dust everywhere, it was like a storm.”
But as he got to his feet after the explosion, he saw one of the attackers climbing into the tower and drew his kukri – the traditional Nepalese knife used by Gurkhas – to take him on in hand-to-hand combat, eventually forcing the man to flee.
Others recognised include Corporal Josh Griffiths, from The Mercian Regiment, who receives the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross after he battled Afghan insurgents as they tore through the wall of his base. He insisted on fighting on despite later discovering he had a broken back.
Private Ryan Houston, from the Royal Regiment of Scotland, is Mentioned in Despatches for his actions when a rogue Afghan soldier turned on coalition troops during a Remembrance Day football match in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.
Rifleman Ben Taylor, an army reserve with the Mercian Regiment, is awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal. He was on his first tour of Afghanistan when he was catapulted out of an armoured vehicle which landed in a canal, and was forced to swim back to it and help his comrades, who were trapped underwater.
Flight Lieutenant Christopher Gent, from Dorset, receives a Queen’s Commendation for Bravery in the Air for skilful piloting of a Chinook helicopter in “abysmal weather” to rescue an injured Afghan soldier.
Army medic Lance Corporal Rachel Hughes, from Essex, has been honoured for her service after saving lives on three separate occasions during her first tour of duty in Afghanistan.
L/Cpl Hughes said: “I feel like what me and the other medics did over there definitely made a difference. I would go back over there instantly.”